Four in court over tourist hijacking

Four in court over tourist hijacking

THE trial of four men accused of hijacking and robbing five tourists at the coast started in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Bernhard Ngikofele (19), Joshua Shatilwe (22), Simon Martin (21) and Andreas Haimbodi (20) appeared before Magistrate Gibson Imbili on two charges of armed robbery. All four pleaded not guilty.They allegedly hijacked three tourists from Germany – Herbert Haecker, his wife Slavica and a friend, Berndt Hauptmann – while they were taking photos at Moon Valley east of Swakopmund on December 6 2005.One suspect allegedly went on to hijack another vehicle, that of Joachim Bauer, a Swiss citizen, and his German girlfriend, Indra Roy, when the couple tried to help the German tourists who were held at gunpoint in their Toyota bakkie.Police officers from Swakop-mund and Walvis Bay tracked down the four men and arrested them on the same day.The investigating officer, Detective Constable Philipus Shilongo, testified that Bauer and Roy reported the case at the Swakopmund Police Station after their captor, whom they later identified as Ngikofele, ordered them to drop him off near the airport outside Swakopmund.Bauer and Roy then accompanied the Police to the place where Ngikofele allegedly got into their vehicle.Shilongo said a cap and a wallet containing credit cards and documents of the German group were found at the scene.On quad bikes and on foot, the Police followed the tracks of three pairs of running shoes.Shilonga said they could judge from the tracks that the suspects were running.The tracks led them to the NamWater station outside Swakopmund where Shatilwe, Martin and Haimbodi were hiding.Shilonga said Martin and Haimbodi took them to Ngikofele’s residence.He was also arrested.Three pairs of running shoes, which matched the shoe prints followed by the Police, were presented as evidence.The shoes were taken from the suspects after the men were arrested.Warrant Officer Johannes Blom said all four men were pointed out by the tourists during two separate identification parades.The four suspects turned down the service of legal counsel and opted to represent themselves.During their cross-examination of the witnesses, Magistrate Imbili had to constantly explain court procedures.On several occasions, the Magistrate had to remind the four not to venture into discussions with witnesses, but to only reply to incriminating statements.The case will continue on March 22.All four pleaded not guilty.They allegedly hijacked three tourists from Germany – Herbert Haecker, his wife Slavica and a friend, Berndt Hauptmann – while they were taking photos at Moon Valley east of Swakopmund on December 6 2005.One suspect allegedly went on to hijack another vehicle, that of Joachim Bauer, a Swiss citizen, and his German girlfriend, Indra Roy, when the couple tried to help the German tourists who were held at gunpoint in their Toyota bakkie.Police officers from Swakop-mund and Walvis Bay tracked down the four men and arrested them on the same day.The investigating officer, Detective Constable Philipus Shilongo, testified that Bauer and Roy reported the case at the Swakopmund Police Station after their captor, whom they later identified as Ngikofele, ordered them to drop him off near the airport outside Swakopmund.Bauer and Roy then accompanied the Police to the place where Ngikofele allegedly got into their vehicle.Shilongo said a cap and a wallet containing credit cards and documents of the German group were found at the scene.On quad bikes and on foot, the Police followed the tracks of three pairs of running shoes.Shilonga said they could judge from the tracks that the suspects were running.The tracks led them to the NamWater station outside Swakopmund where Shatilwe, Martin and Haimbodi were hiding.Shilonga said Martin and Haimbodi took them to Ngikofele’s residence.He was also arrested.Three pairs of running shoes, which matched the shoe prints followed by the Police, were presented as evidence.The shoes were taken from the suspects after the men were arrested.Warrant Officer Johannes Blom said all four men were pointed out by the tourists during two separate identification parades.The four suspects turned down the service of legal counsel and opted to represent themselves.During their cross-examination of the witnesses, Magistrate Imbili had to constantly explain court procedures.On several occasions, the Magistrate had to remind the four not to venture into discussions with witnesses, but to only reply to incriminating statements.The case will continue on March 22.

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